World Social Forum

6 June 2005

World Social Forum

The World Social Forum (WSF) developed out of the anti-capitalist movements in the late 1990s. It was created to provide an open platform to discuss strategies of resistance to the model for globalisation formulated at the World Economic Forum at Davos (Switzerland) at which neo-liberal intellectuals and political leaders meet to discuss and supposedly solve the problems of the age. The first WSF was held in 2001 in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, a city of 1.5 million people. Both the city and the state are governed by the Workers' Party of Brazilian president Lula. There are 30,000 participants. The forums in 2002 and 2003, also held in Porto Alegre, saw the movement grow rapidly, as the WSF came to symbolise the strength of the anti-globalisation movement and became a rallying point for worldwide protest against the American invasion of Iraq. More than 100,000 people attend the fourth WSF in Mumbai (India), a city with a population of more than 30 million people governed by the extreme nationalist right. The next WSF is planned for Porto Alegre in 2005; the sixth forum is planned for Africa.

Recent publications from Public Services & Democracy

Polarising Development – Introducing Alternatives to Neoliberalism and the Crisis

Social movements and critical scholars have triggered renewed debate on possible different futures for on developmental change. They  are no longer tethered to the pole of ‘reform and reproduce’. A new pole of ‘critique and strategy beyond’ neoliberal capitalism has emerged

Our Public Water Future

Privatisation on the backfoot as new book shows that the growing wave of cities putting water back under public control has now spread to 37 countries impacting 100 million people.

Rethinking Corporatization and Public Services in the Global South

After three decades of privatization and anti-state rhetoric, government ownership and public management are back in vogue.

Organising workers’ Counter-power in Italy and Greece

Austerity in Greece and Italy has struck workers' particularly hard, but it has also been the context for radical innovations in ’organising the unorganised’, building new kinds of work spaces and even taking control of production.